Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'd like to know if Ubuntu will offer other Desktop environments as an option during installation. This is only should we decide that Unity is not for us.

share|improve this question
up vote 30 down vote accepted

Ubuntu (the stock CD) has never offered an option to install different desktops in the installer, you make that decision by selecting Ubuntu, or Kubuntu, or Xubuntu, etc.

Unity will be the default desktop if your hardware supports it. If your hardware does not support Unity, you will get the same desktop that you have today, GNOME 2.x., which is available as the "Ubuntu Classic Desktop" in the login screen. Users can also just log into the classic session if they prefer the older GNOME desktop.

For those asking if Ubuntu will ever have an option in the installer for people to choose whatever desktop they want then no, that will not be available in the default desktop cd. Of course you can use the alternate installer to preseed your install with the desktop you want or have a custom kickstart or whatever.

If someone were to make a community derivative with GNOME Shell (or one that does let the user choose) then you can find information on how to do that here.

share|improve this answer
Would it make more sense then, to offer a Gubuntu or GnUbuntu option? The above seems a bit more confusing to users, and doesn't follow the current model (Kubuntu/Xubuntu). Unless the point is to move away from the current model, then - I respectfully withdraw my follow up :) – Jay Oct 28 '10 at 0:18
In my opinion it would be more confusing to divulge the desktop like that. Some users may not have compatible hardware, and will need a 2d desktop, and other just might like Gnome. So offering it all with a single CD for Gnome, and Unity as the default seems logical. – NightwishFan Oct 28 '10 at 0:29
Thanks NightWishFan, I completely agree. You cleared up my confusion in my previous question about the upgrade path to 11.04. – Jay Oct 28 '10 at 0:45
I think it must be like metacity --replace, compiz --replace, gnome-shell --replace and so for Unity. Maybe in Display settings. – Extender Oct 28 '10 at 2:41
Would it be possible (and perhaps more logical) to build this selection process into the installer so people know what they're getting at install-time? Ie have the installer do a hardware detection, see if there are drivers, install them at install time and then give the user the option of Unity or the old Gnome (and Gnome Shell via a behind-the-scenes apt-get?) before they reboot. Of course if their video isn't up to scratch, the screen should grey out the applicable options and explain what's happening. The first post-install boot should be predictable from the user's point of view. – Oli Oct 29 '10 at 15:56

It's my understanding that the standard gnome session (neither shell nor unity) will still be available. Since Unity still uses a large amount of Gnome, I would imagine that everything you need for the old-style Gnome session will still be on the CD.

share|improve this answer

No, this is not planned in any form.

The main reason is a distribution needs an identity and direction. Mark Shuttleworth has guided Ubuntu this far, and the direction he is setting going forward puts Unity firmly at the forefront. Offering alternate desktop environments or shells during install only adds to user confusion and weakens the identity of the project.

Gnome 2.x will remain as a fallback for hardware that does not support unity, much as it currently does on the Netbook remix.

share|improve this answer
Reminds me of Henry Ford: "you can have a Type T any color you like... provided it's black". – Delete May 15 '11 at 8:00

Currently you can still just choose the Gnome Classic session at login. It's all still there for now.

share|improve this answer

I'm 99.9% sure that you will still have the option to install Gnome. If worse came to worse you could still make Gnome work with Ubuntu after the install. But I'm pretty sure it will remain an option.

share|improve this answer
Source for this info? – Ignacio Nov 1 '10 at 18:00
I honestly can't remember where I originally found the information, but this source does state the same thing:… – Adam Thompson Nov 3 '10 at 21:00

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.